The Royal Docks used to play temporary host to 100s of ships coming and going with their cargos – these days the waters and wharves are still.
However, the docks are now home to one very important ship – the Steam Ship Robin.
The SS Robin is so important as she is the oldest complete steam ship in the world and whilst she now lives on a barge rather than afloat she remains an important demonstration of the skills of the workers who built her.
The fact that her home is now the Royal Docks is even more appropriate given that she was built at the long since closed Thames Ironworks shipyard on the river Lea in East London.
The SS Robin is currently undergoing restoration and conversion works with the plan to open her to the public during 2015 at a permanent mooring site at the western end of the Royal Victoria Dock where she will be both a museum and a working / educational space.
I was lucky enough to go on board during one of a number of preview “hard-hat” tours and it was a fascinating experience to see the structure and material of this historic vessel but also to see how much work the mainly volunteer trust have on their hands.
There may be similar tours taking place over the coming months and details can be found on the SS Robin website along with more details of the charitable trust who are working to preserve her.
A few more photos can be seen here.